March 16, 2009

Whole Wheat Pasta

I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where my mom made homemade noodles on a fairly regular basis. My little brother liked to come home from school and make them for his afterschool meal. They are really easy, once you get the hang of it. I love them because I can make them whole wheat and add yummy things like spinach to them.


2 c Whole Wheat flour (can be made with white flour as well If possible when using white flour use 1/3-1/2 of the volume of flour as semolina flour)

3 lg eggs (I use 3 T powdered eggs and 6 t water)

2 c fresh spinach (I add a few handfuls of baby spinach, the more you use the darker they are)

Extra flour and water to adjust consistency

Food Processor (the easiest method)

Place four and spinach in bowl of food processor. Process until spinach is pulverized and mixed thoroughly with the flour.

Add eggs and process for about 1 minute. The mass should form one main ball, about the consistency of playdough. If it is just in little chunks add water 1-2 tsp at a time until it comes together. If it is too sticky, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time until it is manageable. 

If you don't have a food processor, blend the eggs and spinach up in a blender.  I don't know why but when I do it this way more the noodles loose more color (and I assume other goodies) when they are cooked, it doesn't happen when I pulverize the spinach with the flour.   Form the flour into a well and pour the egg and spinach mixture into the well. Mix the flour into the egg until a dough is formed Knead 5-10 minutes adding more flour or water if necessary.

Wrap in plastic wrap, or place in covered bowl and let sit 20 minutes. If using 100% whole wheat flour this is especially important to allow the flour to hydrate.

Then roll it out.  If you are especially strong, you can roll it out by hand.  I don't know anyone who can roll whole wheat thin enough by hand, but you can give it a try.  I run it through a pasta roller.  It is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  They are often found at thrift stores and garage sales, as well as most kitchen stores.   If you have a kitchenaid they make a roller attachement I have used, and I loved it.   You can also find motors for the regular machines but they can be pricey.  The motor (or Kitchenaid) makes it easy for one person to do by themselves.  Without the motor I would recommend 2 people. 1 to crank and 1 to feed the dough and catch it as it comes out.  For JR prom this was the "activity" we went to one young mans house and made pasta.  I think it upset he and his parents that I had actually done it before, but I was the only one out of a group of about 10 people.

Most pasta machines come with 2 attachements, one for making spaghetti and one for making fettucini noodles.  You can also just roll it onut in flat sheets for use in lasagna (no precooking necessary) or filled pastas.  I love to make ravioli's in bulk and freeze them for later meals.  

Once the pasta is rolled out you can add it to boiling water and cook 4-5 minutes, less if you roll it really thin.  

If you make more pasta than you can eat in one sitting, you can dry the leftover pasta.  I ALWAYS do this.  It only adds a few minutes of rolling out, but I will make enough for 4-5 meals all at once. I either hang it on wooden spoons or dowels to dry, and I recently started laying it out in my dehydrator to dry.  It only takes about 45 minutes in a dehydrator, and worked great.

You can also do variations adding fresh herbs or other vegetables.  The possibilities are endless.

Good Luck!


Courtney said...

That is so cool! I was always told you can't make your own homemade WW pasta, that it doesn't work well. Well yours looks amazing. We will be tying this out.

Maile said...

Hi, I am Courtney's sister-in-law and I follow this blog. There are some really great ideas and tips that I love it.

Well I had a question about your pasta. When you freeze it, do you cook it and then freeze or just freeze.

Heidi said...

When I do stuffed pasta I freeze it uncooked. If I am doing fettucini noodles, or lasagna noodles I let them dry then store them that way.

I have frozen fresh made fettucini noodles in little piles to make my own skillet meals. The noodles don't require much water to cook, I think I added about 1/2 cup and kept everything covered and it worked great.

I guess the best answer to your question, Maile, is that you can do it either way! Whatever will work easiest for you.

Justin and Emily said...

I am an old college roomie of Courtney and I can't tell you how excited I am about your blog!!! I will certainly we checking it out often and I already have a grocery list of some items so I can try some the recipes myself. Thanks for doing this, I will be sending many of my friends your way ;)